We asked Brett a few of the “Big” questions in life. Here’s what he said…
Q. So, why are we here?
A. We are on this planet to learn and grow. To survive. To thrive. Ask yourself the question “why are we here?” and see how the answer changes for you over time.
Q. Do you have an overall philosophy?
A. My overall philosophy is to make a positive difference and improve the financial situation in all the lives I touch. Towards that goal, I seek out truth. My test of truth is it was true yesterday; it is true today and will be true tomorrow.
Q. How do you handle conflict?
A. Do not fight or argue. A wise man once said, “A man’s opinion changed against his will is of the same opinion still.” Do not reason with an angry man, as they are not listening. They are not ready to consider other perspectives. Hear what is in people’s hearts without clouding your view with your own self-interests. People do not know what they do not know. As a result, beliefs, biases, conclusions and decisions are destined for problems. Try and view things from the perspective of others before judging adverse responses to other’s perspectives. Maybe they are right and you are wrong.
Q. How has being married changed you?
A. We are all made different, but the different perspective will create a better result, viewed from both sides. Once in a while, the difference will drive you crazy, but it’s O.K. I am lucky to have Nikki as my wife and she has contributed greatly to my ability to see something from someone else’s perspective.
Q. Do have any fundamental financial advice?
A. It’s about living within your means. To start, consider; (1) Save $1,000 (2) Have 3-6 months of emergency funds, then stop new debt and snowball payments on debt until debt free. (3) Invest everything else until you learn the “game” of being wealthy. The rest comes from how we can help clients after they have accumulated enough to become a client. Here we partner with our clients to help them avoid making irreversible errors and help them grow in wealth.
Q. With all of this success, how do you stay “grounded”?
A. Treat the coffee shop server with the same high degree of respect as a CEO of a publicly-traded company. Our life lessons come from many sources and are just as likely to come from the most unsuspecting person. Again, it’s about learning and making a difference. Anybody will do business with you if you care and nobody will do business with you, no matter how smart you are, if they think you do not care. This cannot be an act, or they will see right through it. Care, for real and it will make your job worth dedicating your life towards. See each person as a father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister. We are all related in some way. Try to see the world from their perspective. First seek to understand.
Q. Let’s talk about work. How do you feel about your clients?
A. My objective is to help our clients to be wealthy, happy, prepared and informed. I see us as part of a mutual relationship. A partner should seek the best possible result. He makes sure he knows each client through reviewing all aspects of their financial situation. I try to be there when they need me and add to their lives. If someone complains, repeat what he or she said, take responsibility and apologize for aspect that is lacking. Make up for and solve the issue whenever possible.
Q. Do you still learn from others?
A. The shortest path to knowledge is through mentors. My goal is to seek out mentors and refine my strategies and teachings either by direct mentor feedback or through reading the books of mentors. I have learned successful people want to help others avoid expensive life lessons. The key is that the student must be willing to learn and bear the burden of learning, growing and acting on the mentor’s advice.
Other ways to learn include:
- Listen not as a strategy but out of respect and caring for others and their views, backgrounds and opinions.
- Once you succeed, pay it forward and mentor others.
- You have to be in a mindset to learn. Don’t go in thinking you already know it. Thinking you know it already stops learning cold.
- Go into a mentoring situation with the curiosity of a child, the intensity of a teenager, the experience of a grown-up and the common sense of a wise old man.
- Listen, repeat back to the mentor what you learned, adjust based upon the feedback the mentors provide. Then go over how your plan has changed given the mentor’s feedback. By following these steps, the mentors will have a vested interest in your success.
Q. How do you have fun?
A. Don’t limit your emotional age to your physical age. Instead, use your best age to match to the experience. Happiness is not found in the goal or milestone, but it’s in the pursuit or journey. Maintain a youthful love of life. Enjoy the ride! Be present and truly listen rather than spending your time thinking about a response. Life is about Magic moments. Accumulate them. Create them for others. Our enjoyment is measured upon the number of magic moments we have and give.
Q. Do you still work hard?
A. Always! Work hard and with focus and you will have a better outlook about work and life. It will make your life more enjoyable and more rewarding. Our objective is to be prepared. You want to respond, rather than react. Don’t be a suck, whatever you do. Be additive. Be enthusiastic. Do it well. Never complain. Do your work with the heart of a gracious servant. In other words, at every turn, add value.
Q. How do you stay motivated?
A. For most people: “Successes” equal growth. “Losses” equal decline. So give others “successes” whenever possible. If you use a “loss” to learn from the experience, you can avoid the same “loss” in the future. Often, the lesson allows you to solve other problems and you grow in capacity and capability.
Q. Do you still try to develop yourself? How?
A. Study both failures and successes to better understand the potential blind spots. Consider using Ben Franklin’s method to improve character. He took each point and focused on it for a week. So, in a year, you have worked on each one four times!
Here is Ben’s List:
- Temperance. Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation.
- Silence. Speak not but to benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
- Order. Let all things have their place and each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution. Results perform what you aught, perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality. Make no expense to do good for others or yourself. Waste nothing.
- Industry. Waste not of time, be always employed in something useful, and cut out unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity. Use no harmful deceit. Think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak and act accordingly.
- Justice. Wrong none by doing no injuries or omit- ting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting in- juries so much as you think they deserve.
- Clean. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes or habitation.
- Tranquility. Be not disturbed by others trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity. Rarely use venery.
- Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Q.Do you learn from your mistakes?
A. According to Tony Robbins “When people do well they party, when they fail they ponder.” I have learned more from my pondering (i.e. failures) by a factor of 10. Don’t let a life lesson go unlearned and don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Just admit them, identify what needs changing so it doesn’t happen again and go on.
Q.So even now you still think you’re not always right?
A. Learn everyday. Consider you may be wrong in some of your most steadfast beliefs. Be observant and listen. Know the greatest barrier to learning is the belief that you already know. Two plus two equals four. Beyond that, many, many widely accepted beliefs are just wrong. Listen and you may hear truth. Remember that before arguing a point, consider the other person may be right.
Q. What books do you feel have been most influential in your life?
A. Here is a list of some of my most influential books;
- The Autobiography of Ben Franklin, Ben Franklin
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
- The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Green
- The Five People You Meet In Heaven, Mitch Album
- Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
- The E-Myth, Michael Gerber Spin Selling, Neil Rackham
- To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink
- The Little Book That Beats The Market, Neil Goldblatt
- The Ivy Portfolio, Melbane Faber
- What Works on Wall Street, James O’Shaughnessy
- Lies about Money and Truth about Money, Ric Edelman
- Stock Trader’s Almanac 2015, Jeffrey & Yale Hirsch
- The Age of Deleveraging, Gary Shilling • Currency Wars, James Rickards
- Broke, Glen Beck
- The Creature from Jackal Island, G. Edward Griffith
- The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle
- Mastery, Robert Greene
After reading these books…
- Pulitzer Prize Book Winners
- Biographies of the Famous (for and against) like Galileo, Plato, Washington, Lincoln, Obama, Kennedy, Tesla, Edison
- Become an Expert on the Topic by reading top material from many perspectives
- Improve Your Speaking ability
- Study ways to improve your vocabulary, grammar (www.grammarly.com), writing, business skills, understanding people and study ways better use technology (take courses on Word, Excel, and Accounting.)